T20 Mumbai: Rakesh Prabhu's six-hitting spree powers Namo Bandra to 7-wicket win

Namo Bandra Blasters coasted to the target of 149 with 52 balls to spare.

Rakesh Prabhu deposits one over wide long-on on his way to a match-winning unbeaten 64.   -  T20 Mumbai

Rakesh Prabhu, promoted to number four by Eagle Thane Strikers for his power-hitting, lashed eight sixes in 21 balls to inspire his team to a thrilling seven-wicket win over Namo Bandra Blasters in T20 Mumbai at the Wankhede stadium. Chasing 149 in 20 overs, ETS raced home in 11.2 overs on the strength of astounding strokeplay by the burly left-hander (64 not out). Aditya Tare admired the shower of sixes at the non-striker's end (50 off 27 balls, 5x4, 3x6).

Prabhu strode to the crease in the sixth over, ETS far away from home at 49-2. “The coach expected quick runs from batsmen and informed me about the plan to reach the target inside 12 overs to improve our run rate,”said the Victory CC player, representing Jain Irrigation on the local circuit. “The ball was coming on nicely and I executed the given task.” He hammered 25 off Nikhil Date, 23 off Shreyas Iyer. ETS replied with 150 for three wickets.

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Team-mates ran on to the pitch after victory was sealed, hugged the left-hander. “Players like us are always waiting for an opportunity to show our game. The atmosphere in the dressing room was positive,” said Prabhu, quick to judge the length and get under the ball for clean hits over the bowlers head. The fourth wicket stand with captain Tare fetched 91 in 34 balls, the latter also joined in to deal the blows.

Namo Bandra's 148 off 20 overs appeared laboured in comparison. ETS bowlers, supported by excellent catching, kept the heat on batsmen earlier in the evening. Shrideep Mangela and Nikhil Patil broke free in a stand for the fourth wicket. Shreyas Iyer's early exit after just 22 balls (25 runs with one four, one six) forced the two into action. Mangela top-scored with a timely 42 (34 balls, 3x4, 1x6).

Thane bowlers shared the wickets, two by Krutik Hanganwadi and five bowlers getting a wicket each. Prabhu’s subsequent heroics at the crease resulted in a thrilling win, the third in five games, though a place in  the knockout is yet to be confirmed.

Brief scores: Namo Bandra Blasters 148 for seven in 20 overs (Shreyas Iyer 25, Shrideep Mangela 42, Sujit Nayak 26; Krutik Hanganwadi 2-33) lost to Eagle Thane Strikers 150 for three in 11.2 overs (Aditya Tare 50, Alpesh Ramani 29, Rakesh Prabhu 64 no; Aditya Dhumal 2-29).

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